From its Colonial period to the present, music has played a significant role in America's cultural and social well-being. With the introduction of the recording as a consumer product (coupled later by radio), America's music was brought to the masses. Since American music was now able to travel to places on a global scale, between the two World Wars, its influence - particularly in its popular and jazz forms - was strongly felt over Europe. Other composers like Charles Ives and Henry Cowell forged past boundaries of conventional ideas, working and shaping new sounds and concepts outside the commercial mainstream (many of their practices are now considered standard procedure.) During the '20's, many young composers such as Copland, Antheil and Piston went to Paris to study. As a counterpoint to jazz and bold, avant garde trends, composers like Howard Hanson, Randall Thompson, Roy Harris, William Grant Still, and younger composers like Morton Gould and Norman Dello Joio, for example, were developing a distinctively American symphonic school. This golden era witnessed an unprecidented flourishing that is beginning to be recognized and re-established in our current time.




However, composers from that period were certainly not the first to receive national - if not international - recognition. Apart from JOHN ALDEN CARPENTER (1876-1951), whose music is clearly a product of the 20th Century, JOHN KNOWLES PAINE, DUDLEY BUCK, EDWARD MacDOWELL, ARTHUR FOOTE, as well as a host of others (e.g. Beach, Heinrich, Gottschalk, Chadwick), were composers cut from the Romantic fabric while the Romantic Era was in its full attire - in fact, three of the compositions heard on this recording were composed over a century ago. Who were their European contemporaries? Antonin Dvorak, Franz Liszt, Richard Wagner, Camille Saint-Saens, Piotr Ilyitch Tschaikowsky, Edvard Grieg and Johannes Brahms - to mention several. America's Romantic composers deserve to be heard and appreciated for the outstanding material they created, as this recording demonstrates.




JOHN KNOWLES PAINE (1839-1906) came from a musical family; his father was the proprietor of "Paine's Music Store" in Portland, Maine. Paine began his studies in piano with Hermann Kotzchmar, a German immigrant musician in Portland. While still in his teens, Paine organized a series of concerts in which he appeared as pianist with other musicians in order to raise sufficient funds towards his further studies in Germany. In 1858, he went to Berlin to complete his training, changing his emphasis from piano to composition and organ.




Upon his return to the United States in 1862, Paine settled in Boston. In 1873, he joined the faculties of New England Conservatory where he taught piano, organ, music theory and counterpoint, and Harvard University in nearby Cambridge, where he was appointed Director of Music. Students such as Olin Downes and Archibald Davison were influenced by Paine's music history courses, while his composition classes taught a generation of outstanding talent, most notably Converse, Foote, Hill, Mason and Carpenter. His compositions were highly regarded, among them being his organ music, symphonic tone poems, two symphonies, oratorios (e.g. "St. Peter") and Mass in D.




Paine composed his incidental score for OEDIPUS TYRANNUS for male chorus and orchestra to accompany a Harvard production of Sophocles' classical drama. Presented in its original Greek at Harvard's Sanders Theater in 1881, that production signified the first revival of classical Greek drama organized on a grand scale in America. The "Prelude" from Paine's score is usually performed today as a concert work, independant of its remaining choral and drama-related material.




Born in Hartford, Connecticut, the same year as Paine, was his contemporary DUDLEY BUCK (1839-1909). At 19, Buck travelled abroad to complete his formal education, choosing to study in Leipzig, Dresden and Paris. When he returned to America, he settled in New York where he established himself as one of the foremost organists and pedagogues in the nation. While Buck was widely known as a concertizing organist, he was also a noteworthy composer of sacred and secular cantatas, orchestral, church and organ music.




Buck's FESTIVAL OVERTURE ON THE AMERICAN NATIONAL AIR, THE STAR-SPANGLED BANNER was first performed in Indianapolis in 1887. His imaginative use of counterpoint places the first, vigorous theme in contrast with the stately The Star-Spangled Banner, which he cast as the second theme. Buck's manipulation between them, along with his brilliant sense of orchestration gives this work its winning sparkle and panache.




Of the composers in this group, EDWARD MacDOWELL (1860-1908) was the best known and most internationally "popular." His short piano pieces have been used to teach young musicians for generations, such as the timeless To A Wild Rose (from Woodland Sketches) which contains his most famous melody. Often compared to Grieg, a composer he admired and who befriended him (MacDowell's third and fourth piano sonatas are dedicated to the Norwegian master), MacDowell's music is highly individual, expressive and brilliantly crafted in the true Romantic sense. His music for piano solo (including four sonatas,) symphonic tone poems, two piano concerti, orchestral suites and songs constitute a canon this is deservedly celebrated.




Despite his European training, MacDowell was truly an American: his paternal ancestry can be traced to the pre-Revolutionary War period. With the ambition on being a concert pianist, from 1876 to 1878 he attended the Paris Conservatory (where one of his classmates was Claude Debussy) before withdrawing to Stuttgart where he studied for one month. From 1879 to 1880, MacDowell enrolled at the Hoch Conservatory in Frankfurt where he studied composition with Joachim Raff and piano with Carl Heymann.




Raff, in particular, became MacDowell's mentor, encouraging him to compose while making efforts to bring his work to the attention of his colleagues. One of Raff's colleagues was Franz Liszt who received a copy of MacDowell's First Modern Suite, op. 10 (1881) while still in manuscript. In April 1882, Liszt recommended that MacDowell's work be performed at the forthcoming meeting of the Algemeiner Deutscher Musikverein to be held in Zurich that July. Around this time, MacDowell completed his Piano Concerto No. 1 and travelled to Wiemar in early June to perform it for Liszt. Just two weeks before his Zurich performance, Raff suddenly died. Despite the heartache he felt from this loss, MacDowell proceeded to perform his "op. 10" - a performance which marked the beginning of his career.




MacDowell returned to the United States in 1888. In 1896, he was appointed Chairman of the Department of Music at Columbia University in New York - the first person to hold that position at that institution. He spent his summers composing at his home in Peterborough, New Hampshire. Despite the quiet summers, the Columbia position took its toll on both his physical and mental health. MacDowell died prematurely just a little more than a month after his 47th birthday. His widow turned their Peterborough home into the renowned MacDowell Colony which continues to house artists while they pursue their endeavors in a peaceful, secluded setting.




Inspired from a lyric poem by John Keats, LAMIA, op. 29 (1889) is MacDowell's third symphonic poem. The tale is summarized in the published score:




“Lamia, an enchantress in the form of a serpent, loves Lycius, a


young Corinthian. To win him, she prays to Hermes who answers


her appeal by transforming her into a lovely maiden. Lycius meets


her in the wood, is smitten with love, and goes with her to her


enchanted palace where their wedding is celebrated with great


splendor. Suddenly the magician Apollonius appears and reveals


her secret. Lamia resumes her serpent form, the enchanted palace


vanishes, and Lycius is found lifeless.”




ARTHUR FOOTE (1853-1937) abandoned plans for a business career when he chose to develop his musical talents. He studied at Harvard University with John Knowles Paine and enjoyed his initial success in 1887 when the Boston Symphony Orchestra premiered his symphonic poem In The Mountains. This composition was later presented at the Paris Exhibition in 1889. His chamber and orchestral works are what he is primarily remembered for today, particularly First Suite in D, A Night Piece (for flute and strings), Four Character Pieces after the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, and the work heard on this recording, his SUITE IN E FOR STRINGS, op. 63 (1908).




Foote's "op. 63" was introduced by the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Max Fiedler. Later, Serge Koussevitzsky programmed it with great success and recorded it. Clearly cast in the Romantic style, it is perhaps, the most frequently performed of Foote's compositions. Its three movements form a suite brimming with melodic beauty, contrapuntal invention, harmonic richness and textural variety.




- Dana Paul Perna (1996)








Chicago-born JOHN ALDEN CARPENTER (1876-1951), was born a descendant of John Alden and Priscilla Mullins of Mayflower and Longfellow fame. In 1897, he joined his father's shipping supply business, and was vice-president from 1906 until he retired in 1936. Before and during that time, music


was a serious avocation (Charles Ives comes to mind). As an undergraduate, he studied music at Harvard University with John Knowles Paine. Later, the success of his business gave him the means to pursue his studies under Edward Elgar in Rome, and Bernard Ziehn in Chicago. Carpenter received many honors in music: an honorary M.A. from Harvard University (1922), an honorary doctorate from Wisconsin University (1933), and a gold medal from The National Institute of Arts and Letters, "for distinguished services to music." He was also a Knight of the French Legion of Honor (1921).




Somehow, Carpenter's colonial Pilgrim ancestry, his involvement in business, his solid, traditional musical education, his honors and his social services, do not prepare us for the brash, cheeky, quasi-jazzy music he composed for his 1924 ballet, SKYSCRAPERS. Actually, in the mid-twenties, these musical elements were already in the air. About this time, Arthur Honegger with Pacific 231, and Alexander Mossolov with The Steel Foundry, emphasized incessant motor rhythms in their music. The "Jazz Age" was in full swing and Darius Milhaud, Francis Poulenc, Igor Stravinsky, George Antheil and George Gershwin were introducing jazz and popular music influences into "classical" music. Carpenter himself had already written his "jazz pantomime," Krazy Kat in 1921, while his earlier composition Adventures in a Perambulator (1916) made use of ragtime, popular and "street" songs, in easily recognizable quotations throughout that significant orchestral suite.




Still, no American had quite made such a delicious, charming fun-soup out of motor rhythms, fox trots, jazz elements, popular-sounding tunes, and outrageous orchestration as had Carpenter in SKYSCRAPERS Priscilla Mullins may have said to John Alden, "Why don't you speak for yourself, John?," but John Alden Carpenter needed no such urging. In SKYSCRAPERS perhaps because of his economic independance, he spoke for himself in his own voice.




SKYSCRAPERS received its premiere as a ballet in six scenes at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York on February 19, 1926, the composer himself collaborating in both the stage setting and the choreography. The following description is based upon Oscar Thompson's review of the premiere for Musical America:




“With the parting of the curtains, blinking red lights at either


side of the stage represent traffic signals and are "symbols of


restlessness". The backdrop is an "abstraction of the skyscraper."


Girders in abstract confusion; workmen in overalls go through


the motions of violent labor while human shadows move


meaninglessly by. Suggestions in the music of fox-trotting


rhythms of industry, of building, of working - urgent haste and


confusion of city life. Whistles blow, workers emerge and dance


toward "any amusement park of the Coney Island type" with its


Ferris wheels, street shows, fun-mad, dance-addled crowds


swirling through rhythmic gestures, glorifying American girls'


nether extremities. A more definitely fox-trot rhythm appears,


accompanying a lazy, upbeat tune, with is limned clearly when


scored for a plucked banjo. There are suggestions of amusement


park sounds: brass bands, its carousel, its raucous dance


orchestras. The atmosphere is charged with a mixture of febrile


gaiety and cloying sentimentality. There is a "flash-back" to the


idea of work, with the cessation of dancing, and a return to the


workmen swinging their hammers and preparing to rivet. This is


followed by a reversion to play in which flappers, sailors, midway


types, etc., perform a succession of colorful dances. The next


scene brings another transition from play to work, as the workmen


leave their dance partners to return to the skyscraper labors,


having been summoned by the factory whistle. Gigantic shadows,


suggesting a mighty power behind the building of a great city's


skyscrapers, are cast upward against the girders as the ballet concludes.”




An interesting feature of the music is the incorporation of quotes and near-quotes of Stephen Foster, George Gershwin, "Massa's in de Cold, Cold Ground," "Yankee Doodle," "Dem Goo-Goo Eyes," "La Cucaracha," etc. Carpenter suggests that the players strictly observe all accent marks and "forte-piano" indications. He explains that by fp or ffp, he intends a sharp, crisp attack, followed immediately by a release of pressure.




Apart from a huge, yet standard orchestra (with particularly large numbers of percussion instruments), the instrumentation includes three saxophones, a banjo, two pianos, celesta, and a compressed air whistle in F sharp. There is also a chorus of six tenors and six sopranos for ballet performances, which, at the premiere, was comprised entirely of black performers from Harlem. However, the score indicates that the chorus is optional and may be omitted in concert performance, as it is in this recording.




- Gerald S. Fox (1987)








Kenneth Klein




Conductor Kenneth Klein firmly established his career with a European debut appearance with the Nuremberg Symphony. Engagements quickly followed with such European ensembles as the London Symphony, the Philharmonia Orchestra, the London Philharmonic, the Vienna symphony, Orchestre National de France, and Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, among others. He has also served as a musical ambassador, leading various orchestras on tour throughout the Soviet Union, Romania, and Sweden. In November 1991, Mr. Klein returned to London to make his debut with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall.




Brought by composer Carlos Chavez to Mexico, Kenneth Klein served for 12 years as the music director of the Guadalajara Symphony. He was heard by Pablo Casals who subsequently engaged him to conduct the Puerto Rico Symphony on numerous occasions. This led to several appearances at the Festival Casals.




In the United States, he has appeared with the American Symphony Orchestra in Carnegie Hall, the Houston Symphony, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the New Jersey Symphony, and the Louisville Orchestra. Together Kenneth Klein and the New York Virtuosi Chamber Symphony have performed at Lincoln Center, most recently in May, 1996, as well as having toured the major musical centers of Germany. Mr. Klein is a frequent guest conductor in Vienna, Japan, and Russia and has performed at theMusikverein and with the Moscow Philharmonic.




On the recording front, Kenneth Klein appears on Collins Classics conducting the orchestral music of Aaron Copland with the New York Virtuosi; on the VOX and ASV labels conducting music of Vaughan Williams, Elgar, and Britten; on the Ribbonwood label conducting Mozart's Symphony No. 29 and Piano Concerto No. 25; and violin works of Glazunov, Tchaikovsky, Chausson, Sarasate, and Saint-Saëns with the London Philharmonic on Pickwick/IMP Classics. Mr. Klein's all-Morton Gould recording with the London Symphony has been released on Albany Records. In the spring of 1993 Unicorn Records reissued for the first time on CD Kenneth Klein's Music from Mexico, featuring symphonic works of Carlos Chavez and his compatriots.




Born and educated in Los Angeles, Mr. Klein received degrees from Stanford University and the University of Southern California. His formal conducting studies were with Fritz Zweig and Richard Lert, who imbued in him the grand nineteenth-century, central European tradition. He is the recipient of two ASCAP awards.




Recording Producer & Engineer: Brian Culverhouse


Recorded in Watford Town Hall, England


Originally released on EMI/Angel Records © 1987


New format pre-mastering and editing: Dana Paul Perna (1996)


Cover design by Paul Miyamoto


Photo of Dudley Buck courtesy of Theodore Presser Company


Photo of John Knowles Paine courtesy of Harvard University Archives














KENNETH KLEIN, conductor








Oedipus Tyrannus - Prelude, op. 35 (1881) (9:07)








Festival Overture on the American National Air, The Star-Spangled Banner (1887) (6:44)








Lamia, op. 29 (Symphonic Poem No. 3) (1889) (13:18)








Suite in E for Strings, op. 63 (1908 (17:16)




I. Praeludium (Allegro comedo) (4:03)




II. Pizzicato und Adagietto (Capriccioso, Allegretto) (8:24)




III. Fugue (Allegro gissto) (4:49)








Skyscrapers (1924) (20:55)




Total Time = 67:38